Governor's Award

2017 Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts

Major Contributor to the Arts: Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program of Roswell

The Roswell Artist-in-Residence (RAiR) Program, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, provides about six contemporary artists a year with “a gift of time” -- a one-year residency with a house, studio, living stipend and an exhibition at the Roswell Museum and Art Center. Founded in 1967 by artist, oilman and philanthropist Donald B. Anderson, RAiR was envisioned as a program solely for the benefit of artists, without any obligations that would hinder creativity.

Since its inception, RAiR has hosted some 238 artists from the United States, Europe, Japan, Chile and Australia, including nationally noted artists such as Robert Colescott, Luis Jimenez, Milton Resnick, Alison Saar, Jane South, and Kumi Yamashita. Eight RAiR artists have received a Governor’s Arts Award in New Mexico: Jiminez in 1993; Howard Cook in 1979; Cook’s wife Barbara Latham in 1988; Elmer Schooley in 1986; Frank McCulloch in 2001; William Goodman in 2005; Eddie Dominguez in 2006; and Edward Vega in 2009.

In addition, Anderson himself received a Governor’s Arts Award in 1983 as a major contributor to the arts. “These honors speak to the caliber of the program and its participants,” said nominator Brinkman Randle, president of the Roswell Interarts Organization. RAiR has “served as a mecca for artists from throughout the world, many of whom have remained in Roswell and New Mexico past their residencies – enhancing our state’s cultural bounty,” Randle said. The RAiR artists “leave with studio discipline, personal contacts and a greater sense of one’s wealth as an artist,” Goodman said. “I can testify that in my own case the experience was very valuable. …An artist can be brimming full of skill, imagination and ideas, but it also takes time and money for these elements to come together to produce something worthwhile.” Saar said her residency gave her an incredible amount of room and time to explore new mediums and materials: “I bought my first chainsaw at Roswell and it escorted me into a whole body of life scale sculptures that I feel are now my central focus in my work.”

In 2002, the RAiR Foundation was formed as a nonprofit to oversee the RAiR Program and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, the public face of this remarkable residency program. RAiR artists have developed strong relationships within the community and often play key roles in local arts education initiatives. The RAiR Program’s “gift of time” has not only impacted the work of emerging and established artists from throughout the world but has contributed to the vitality of contemporary visual arts in New Mexico, especially through the strong and sustained exhibition programs of the Roswell Museum and Art Center and the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, said Caroline M. Brooks, the executive director of the Roswell Museum and Art Center and Laurie J. Rufe, the former executive director. “RAiR artists have taught classes, led our Second Saturday free art programs, and contributed to our events and educational outreach,” Brooks and Rufe said. In October, the Roswell Museum and Art Center, will mount an ambitious exhibition to celebrate the RAiR Program and its alumni and to commemorate the Roswell Museum and Art Center’s 80th and the RAiR Program’s 50th anniversaries.

New Mexico Arts

New Mexico Arts is the state arts agency and a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
RAIR Staff